February 5, 2013 | Alex
Ready for another installation of complement | contrast?
There was a shameful period in my past, which for the sake of convenience I'll refer to as "high school", where I essentially morphed into an illustration out of the preppy handbook. Challenging times, folks. In fact, at a recent gathering of old classmates, a friend reminded that I (allegedly) once said, "I don't understand why anyone would wear a shirt that doesn't have a collar." Yikes. I'd like to believe I'm more collarless shirt tolerant these days.
Even though my personal style may have evolved considerably, I still nurse an affection for a pink-and-green pairing. To prove that you don't have to be Lilly Pulitzer to pull it off, I'm taking on the classic color combo-- pink + green unprepped.
complementary palette | contrasting style
complement | The room takes its color cues from the artwork, introducing a green carpet with two disparate shades of green found in the figurative work. Picking up the black in the background of the work helps to temper the pink-and-green. An oak headboard softens the palette and alludes to skin tone-- a shade, it took me a moment to realize, that isn't actually present in the art work, but is one I inferred and so closely associate with the exposed torsos of the subjects. (Isn't it fascinating when our brains project what isn't there?)
contrast | The challenge lay in contrasting both the organic outline of the mens' figures and the sharply geometric, almost geode inspired, interior detail (an interesting contrast within the work itself). I opted to introduce a curved lampshade and pillow with a circular motif to contrast with the interior geometrics, while rigid horizantal lines in the carpet, headboard and locker dresser contrast with the casual posture of the human forms. Cold steel and a pale oak contrast with the heat scanner-inspired warm color variation in the piece.
Sources (clockwise from top left)
- Chantalle Lumbar Pillow, via Joss and Main - $19.95
- Murano Rug - Green by Missoni Home, via One Kings Lane - $315-$999
- The Lads, 2008 by Jeffrey Cutaiar, via Artsicle
- Locker Dresser, PB Teen - $999
- Low Wood Cut-Out Headboard - Barley, West Elm - $249-$399
- Bruno Scissor-Arm Pharmacy Sconce by Robert Abbey, via Lumens - $187
complementary style | contrasting palette
Since it's fairly easy to contrast with a black-and-white palette, I thought I'd extend the idea of complementary style one step further. How far could I stretch the thematic element before it felt hokey? Granted, the heavy-handed 'flora and fauna' theme is fairly site-specific. For a sleek SoHo loft, I overshot my mark. But in a Palm Springs mid-modern bungalow, for example, it might just the right about of kitsch. (Try picturing concrete flooring to help balance out the print overload.)
complement | The leaf pattern sets the motif for the room. An iconic print by Josef Frank and a larger-scale abstract floral pattern by Bemz play off the theme, but lend a Swedish vibe. The impact of negative space in both prints echoes a similar use of negative space in the artwork. Slab-cut coffee tables hint at the flora motif more subtly, both by virtue of their organic matter and their petal-like shape. The twisted, winding nature of the Ikea PS 2012 lamp reminded me vaguely of a climbing vine.
contrast | A black-and-white photographic print contrasts with an over-abundance of color. A deeply saturated green and magenta compete with a rich teak wood tone. The piece's photographic-- and therefore hyper realistic-- depiction of leaves contrasts with Josef Frank and Bemz's highly stylized and disparately-scaled patterns.
Sources (clockwise from top left)